Political survey, now with two dimensions. May 5, 2011 7:29 AM   Subscribe

MetaFilter "Political Compass" Survey, 2011 Edition

The recent political survey thread reminded me of The Political Compass, which is a somewhat interesting/fun way to summarize one's political worldview. The Political Compass test asks you a bunch of political questions, then uses your responses to place you in a 2D space where the two axes are your economic and social political scores.

Since everything is better when all of MetaFilter does it at the same time, I figure I'd invite MeFites to submit their political compass readings. I think it'll be interesting to see how this community (or the non-random portion thereof which responds to the survey) looks plotted on a 2D political plane.

(previously)
and discussion of it (previously)

To facilitate data gathering, I have prepared a google document survey form. Along with the required political compass coordinates, I included some additional optional questions about the respondent for improved datawankery. I have set up some sheets in the spreadsheet with charts which (in the unlikely event that I haven't screwed up the formulas) should provide a bit of on-the-fly analysis.

1. Read about the political compass test

2. Take the political compass test

3. Submit your political compass reading to the google document

4. View the spreadsheet to see the results so far

Enjoy.
posted by Salvor Hardin to MetaFilter-Related at 7:29 AM (204 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Gah! So many double negatives to untangle in that survey. I strongly disagree that it does not fail to be non-frustrating.
posted by him at 7:36 AM on May 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is kind of a libertarian recruitment thing, fwiw
posted by empath at 7:38 AM on May 5, 2011


Is it? Well, I'm not trying to recruit anyone to anything. Everybody try not to get recruited to anything!

Also, I couldn't figure out from the political compass site what the maximum score magnitude is. If anyone gets a score with magnitude > 10, poke me and I'll adjust the graphs so you show up.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:49 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Quadrant III was way nicer before all you hippies moved in.
posted by mintcake! at 8:00 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it? Well, I'm not trying to recruit anyone to anything. Everybody try not to get recruited to anything!

The 2-axis compass was created by a libertarian that wanted to peel people away from the left-right dichotomy.
posted by empath at 8:05 AM on May 5, 2011


In what range does your MetaFilter user number fall?

0 - 9999
...
99,000 - 99,999
100,000 - 109,999

*looks at profile page*

Oh, I see how it is.
posted by MrFTBN at 8:10 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Like others, I found the quiz woefully simplistic, both in options and in outcomes. A much better quiz, IMHO, is the initial government selection one from the free online political simulation NationStates. It judges your answers on three axes (personal, political, and economic freedom) for a total of twenty-seven colorful government types -- from Scandinavian Liberal Paradise and New York Times Democracy to Tyranny By Majority and Corporate Police State. There are more in-depth descriptions of all the types here.

You can take the quiz by going to this page and putting in some national trappings (flag, motto, general political sensibility, etc.), then answering a few gradated policy questions. The game will then compute a matching type and description for your input, as well as give you some legislative issues that will further modify your initial government type (though that will take awhile to register). It's pretty fun!
posted by Rhaomi at 8:25 AM on May 5, 2011 [28 favorites]


I really thought I was going to be messing up the curve in some weird way. But no.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on May 5, 2011


Nice try at gaining solidarity, Mayor Hardin, but we the people of Kalgan will still overcome your puny planet.
posted by DU at 8:30 AM on May 5, 2011


Also: Self-selection is a hell of a statistical method.
posted by DU at 8:31 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some of the questions were oddly phrased. Like "A significant advantage of a one-party state is that it avoids all the arguments that delay progress in a democratic political system." I mean, I agree with that, but that doesn't mean I think it's a good thing and there wasn't really a way to express that. Similarly, for the "Sex outside marriage is usually immoral" question, there wasn't a "It is if you're doing it right" option.
posted by logicpunk at 8:32 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


The 2-axis compass was created by a libertarian that wanted to peel people away from the left-right dichotomy.

So getting away from a simple left-right dichotomy is... a bad thing?
posted by languagehat at 8:32 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Only if you're a dirty hippy or a reactionary wingnut.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:34 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is kind of a libertarian recruitment thing, fwiw

ISTR the last time I took it I ended up pretty close to the well-known libertarian Ghandi.
posted by DU at 8:37 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Abstract art that doesn't represent anything shouldn't be considered art at all.

Huh? Is that really a political indicator?
posted by octothorpe at 8:40 AM on May 5, 2011


Which one of these tests tells me what sort of Jedi I would be?
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:41 AM on May 5, 2011


LET ME EAT CAKE!

Or pie. Pie is good too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:43 AM on May 5, 2011


Me, Gandhi and the Dalai Lama. I like that.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:44 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


It said I'm Miranda? I was angling for Charlotte. :(
posted by Greg Nog at 8:45 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey! I'm an INFJ. I'm a Pisces and I like chihuahuas and Chinese noodles!
posted by octobersurprise at 8:48 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Abstract art that doesn't represent anything shouldn't be considered art at all.

Huh? Is that really a political indicator?


"Grumpy old man" is a political affiliation, as is "culture prescriptivist".
posted by DU at 8:48 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be fair, Carmen Miranda & Charlotte Rae were pretty close politically.
posted by mintcake! at 8:49 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Economic Left/Right: -4.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.82

Hey, I moved a couple units to the left since I took this in 2009. It's that damned metafilter place, where I spend way too much time. Better check instapundit more often.
posted by jfuller at 8:59 AM on May 5, 2011


Our race has many superior qualities, compared with other races.

What the heck does Race mean in this context?
posted by Mitheral at 9:00 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which one of these tests tells me what sort of Jedi I would be ?

The Whole Darth Catalog.
posted by y2karl at 9:01 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, I see how it is.
posted by MrFTBN at 11:10 AM on May 5 [+] [!]


Oops! Sorry - didn't realize MeFi had broken 110,000 users! I'll go fix the survey.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:05 AM on May 5, 2011


Salvor Hardin, thanks for the work you did on this. I found the quiz and results interesting.
posted by brain_drain at 9:06 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Our race has many superior qualities, compared with other races.

What the heck does Race mean in this context?


If you have to ask, the answer is "no".
posted by DU at 9:06 AM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Abstract art that doesn't represent anything shouldn't be considered art at all.

That this idea is even possible makes me want to puke. It's just as absurd as saying that some trees that don't provide shade should not be considered trees at all.
posted by pwally at 9:11 AM on May 5, 2011


If you have to ask, the answer is "no".

Does DU make attempt to avoid fucking goats?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:11 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's just as absurd as saying that some trees that don't provide shade should not be considered trees at all.

They aren't trees, they're just fucking sticks with roots. Fuck them for trying to pretend they're real trees.
posted by dersins at 9:23 AM on May 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Interestingly as of right now 10-20Kers are way ahead in the sample. Is that the default choice?
posted by Mitheral at 9:31 AM on May 5, 2011


Interesting to note that so far I am the biggest Commie to have tested. No wonder I didn't feel comfortable in the LP...
posted by jtron at 9:33 AM on May 5, 2011


Comments that doesn't represent anything shouldn't be considered comments at all....
posted by blue_beetle at 9:34 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice try at gaining solidarity, Mayor Hardin, but we the people of Kalgan will still overcome your puny planet.
posted by DU at 11:30 AM on May 5 [+] [!] [quote]


Do your worst - I've got psychohistory on my side!

Interestingly as of right now 10-20Kers are way ahead in the sample. Is that the default choice?

Nope - 0-9999 is the default, although I don't think it enters anything for that field if you don't click on the choice list.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:35 AM on May 5, 2011


On the survey all the combo boxes now default to "Prefer not to say".
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:45 AM on May 5, 2011


Interesting. Thanks for putting this together, Salvor Hardin.

I think I may have taken this two or three years back and been as annoyed by some of the framing as I was this time; it does really, really have this whiff of "you wouldn't seriously agree with x, right? Right?" in spots in a way that does feel more like an annoying conversation with that smug dude at the party who cornered you than it does like an impartial survey. But what do you do.

And so of course I am deeper into the Libertarian scale than I am into Left, though by a big margin on both. Not that I object to some of the stuff that is arguably Libertarian in philosophy, but I sure tend to get along a lot better philosophically with folks in the self-identifying dirty hippie commie liberal lefty camp than I do with the self-identifying libertarian camp. May have something to do with the circumstances under which politics/ideology come up and the specific sets of folks I tend to interact with, though; definitely is informed in part by the fact that I almost never like talking about politics with people who like to volunteer politics as the subject of conversation.

Probably difficult to really get at the sociopolitical issues involved there in the course of a single survey, though. Or two: I scored "solid liberal" on that poli survey on the blue that you linked in the post, and I'm not sure that really tells me anything new or changes the fact that for all that I get along better in most cases with people I disagree with genially than with people who I agree with but whose rhetorical instincts I can't stand.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:48 AM on May 5, 2011


I refuse to take seriously any multiple choice survey that does not allow me an opt out answer to its questions. That is, the four choices (strongly agree - agree - disagree - strongly disagree) DO NOT accurately represent the range of possible responses.

Stick "indifferent" or "unclear" or "undecided" or "no opinion" between agree/disagree and I might start to take this thing seriously. Otherwise, it's essentially enforcing divisiveness by design.
posted by philip-random at 9:50 AM on May 5, 2011


Does it take a little while to show up, or did I somehow mess up my submission?
posted by Salamandrous at 9:53 AM on May 5, 2011


Was it just me, or did the Political Compass measure four dimensions at one point? I mean, it still just displayed the two axes graphically, but I think it gave you numbers for two other scales. I think one was an Interventionist/Isolationist axis, and I forget the fourth. Or am I confusing it with something else?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:55 AM on May 5, 2011


Does it take a little while to show up, or did I somehow mess up my submission?

Hmm, google docs can be pretty laggy, especially with a bunch of people viewing, but I would expect to see it show up within a few minutes (especially if you've tried closing and reopening the doc). After 5 min, I would assume your survey didn't get submitted, and feel free to submit again. If you notice a duplicate later, let me know and I can delete it. 'Cause you know, this is all super scientific already ;)
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:56 AM on May 5, 2011


Not that I have a better term for it but it's silly for Libertarian to only be a label on the social scale. Libertarianism is also an economic policy and conflating the two is either unclear or disingenuous, I haven't decided which.
posted by Skorgu at 10:01 AM on May 5, 2011


BTW, I just noticed the spreadsheet was failing to count respondents in the user number block 0-9999. The problem is fixed now, the children are safe.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:02 AM on May 5, 2011


Our race has many superior qualities, compared with other races.

I completely agree with this statement. Of course, when I fill out the "race" section, I always put "MeFite."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:03 AM on May 5, 2011


Not that I have a better term for it but it's silly for Libertarian to only be a label on the social scale.

I agree, and in light of what empath said about the makers of the quiz, it probably wasn't an accident. But at the moment I'd rather live with their terms than try to create and defend my own.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:04 AM on May 5, 2011


> Stick "indifferent" or "unclear" or "undecided" or "no opinion" between agree/disagree and
> I might start to take this thing seriously. Otherwise, it's essentially enforcing divisiveness by
> design.

Totally agree, but forced-choice tests are like that. It's all directed toward boiling the mass of lovable contradictions that is the real you down to ONE single point on an XY grid, and "no opinion" isn't going to move your little dot on the outcome graph at all. I picked the answer that was closer that the other three to being what I actually felt, even though in many cases that's not saying much. And lo, I can't say I have any real problem with where it put my dot.

PS whoever wrote that enormous free-form comment, just look what you did to the line spacing in the spreadsheet!
posted by jfuller at 10:07 AM on May 5, 2011


It's kind of fun to look at the spreadsheet and try to identify particular users. The user # range combined with age and which sites they consider themselves "power users" on make it... not easier... but at least possible to make some educated guesses. For example, if I'm reading the spreadsheet correctly (and if data is entered on it in the order that the survey was completed) it looks like cortex and I were taking the survey and roughly the same time; apparently I'm very nearly precisely as much of a lefty as he is a libertarian, and the converse is just as very nearly precisely true...
posted by dersins at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2011


> I completely agree with this statement. Of course, when I fill out the "race" section, I always put "MeFite."

0-9999 has many superior qualities, compared with other segments.
posted by jfuller at 10:11 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stick "indifferent" or "unclear" or "undecided" or "no opinion" between agree/disagree and I might start to take this thing seriously. Otherwise, it's essentially enforcing divisiveness by design.

... and now on preview, I see that ... On the survey all the combo boxes now default to "Prefer not to say".

Where am I supposed to see this? I just plugged my nose and took the survey out of curiosity and never noticed a "prefer not to say" option. I felt that a good 20% of the questions were UNCERTAINs for me, mainly because I found the questions a little (or a lot) too leading. So yeah, as currently presented, this thing is inherently problematic for me.

but forced-choice tests are like that. It's all directed toward boiling the mass of lovable contradictions that is the real you down to ONE single point on an XY grid, and "no opinion" isn't going to move your little dot on the outcome graph at all.

So, what we have then is a situation where, by design, statistical agenda trumps accurate representation of an individual's position. Is that sulphur I smell?
posted by philip-random at 10:14 AM on May 5, 2011


Attn 50+ M respondent: if we can get a third member we totally can start a revolutionary cell. Just saying.
posted by jtron at 10:14 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your segmented eyes are particularly appealing. Rowr!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:14 AM on May 5, 2011


Wow, Salvor Hardin! I thought that was just plain fun! Thank you. And I bow, deeply, to your mad Google Doc skills!
posted by Lynsey at 10:17 AM on May 5, 2011


On the survey all the combo boxes now default to "Prefer not to say".

Where am I supposed to see this?


That's on the Google Docs survey where MeFites' responses are being compiled, not on the Political Compass quiz.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:19 AM on May 5, 2011


Ew! It says I've got engrams! Get them off!
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


... and now on preview, I see that ... On the survey all the combo boxes now default to "Prefer not to say".

Where am I supposed to see this? I just plugged my nose and took the survey out of curiosity and never noticed a "prefer not to say" option.


Yeah, what DevilsAdvocate said - just on the google docs survey. I don't have any control over the Political Compass test - sorry.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:21 AM on May 5, 2011


That Political Compass survey probably works best in the context of pretending to be a character from Star Trek.
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on May 5, 2011


I'm probably left to everyone else on there.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:26 AM on May 5, 2011


No suprise for me. Pretty much in the bottom left of the graph. Can't wait to see the results.
posted by seanyboy at 10:27 AM on May 5, 2011


I'd like to see a scatter plot with usernames.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:29 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


That Political Compass survey probably works best in the context of pretending to be a character from Star Trek.

Oh god oh god oh god. Someone needs to put together a riff on this survey in which every question is in fact a disguised synopsis of the central moral conflict of an episode of ST:TNG. And the reveal only comes along when the answer isn't an assertion of your political affiliation, it's your galactic/character affiliation.

"Which Trek Character Are You" meets Rick Astley.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:31 AM on May 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'd like to see a scatter plot with usernames.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:29 PM on May 5 [+] [!] [quote]


I'll publish that one after the revolution has begun.

Seriously though, I considered optionally allowing people to type their username, but decided against it, because I was afraid of joke submissions in other peoples' names. Since there's no way for me to authenticate usernames, it sounded like a potential nightmare.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:33 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want to see the scatter plot though. *please*
posted by seanyboy at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2011


This should be graphed, I'm, not that much into poring over spreadsheets and trying to guess the pattern.
posted by philipy at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2011


Wait, are you guys not seeing the graphs and plots?

They're in the other sheets of the spreadsheet (see the bottom of the google spreadsheet area). Let me know if they aren't showing up for y'all.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:38 AM on May 5, 2011


Economic Left/Right: -5.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.00

So according to this, I'm closest to being a communist anarchist? I'm not sure how this directly follows from my answers. Oh well.
posted by defenestration at 10:39 AM on May 5, 2011


I want to go on record as saying that I like the way cortex thinks, even when I don't get his references. So glad that fella is a moderator.
posted by defenestration at 10:41 AM on May 5, 2011


Salvor Hardin: "Wait, are you guys not seeing the graphs and plots? "

On the summary plot, it's giving me "Access denied".
posted by dunkadunc at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2011


cortex: ""Which Trek Character Are You" meets Rick Astley."

And a new meme was born, "Trek Trolled"
posted by I am the Walrus at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2011


Aren't "occasionally" and "sometimes" synonyms?
posted by Jehan at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2011


"Wait, are you guys not seeing the graphs and plots? "

I've noticed that the more people looking at the document, the slower the graphs themselves load. You see the data, and sometimes the graphs don't show up for another minute or so.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:45 AM on May 5, 2011


....And by "minute" I mean "15 seconds".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:45 AM on May 5, 2011


Salvor Hardin, I see the tabs now. I was a little slow to notice them at the bottom, but I can click through all of them.

I thought I was fairly middle-of-the-road for mefi, but I apparently skew more liberal than I thought. Huh. Very interesting, thanks for creating this!
posted by lilac girl at 10:45 AM on May 5, 2011


I called myself a power user on the Blue, even though I know I'm really not, because hey this isn't scientific and I feel that my lurk is very powerful.
posted by defenestration at 10:47 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, glad the graphs are showing up (sorry about the lagginess)

duncadunc: I just fiddled with the viewing permissions, so if the other tabs weren't accessible, they should be now (you might need to reload)
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:49 AM on May 5, 2011


Very cool! Though either I'm less liberal than I thought I was or the questions failed to grasp the extent of leftishness.
posted by Salamandrous at 10:57 AM on May 5, 2011


Yeah, I have some issues with the use of the word "libertarian" here, on account of I'm not one IRL.

Really, both axes should be labeled "Liberal" to "Conservative," with the distinction between x and y being "Economic" and "Social."
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, I suspect the point of the whole thing is to say "Look! You're a Libertarian! They're not just whiny tax dodgers with a right wing agenda, they're YOU as well". Which may e true in some senses but not in the sense of how the word is popularly used and what people who self apply it believe in.
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on May 5, 2011


Comparing my results to the last time we did this, in which I compared my results to the time we did it before that, I see that my continuing slide towards the lower left hand corner of the graph is both steady and irrevocable.

(Though I'm not that guy pegging out the graph out at -9.75/-9.33. Yet.)

Not that the numbers are really comparable over the years, because every time I take this test they've changed the questions significantly since my last visit.
posted by ook at 11:03 AM on May 5, 2011


Couldn't I just click Democrat and be done?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:05 AM on May 5, 2011


> So, what we have then is a situation where, by design, statistical agenda trumps
> accurate representation of an individual's position.

Yep. Very common in personality testing, and in all those noxious employment tests they make people take nowadays before they'll even consider your application. Maybe a little less noxious here where it's just a game.
posted by jfuller at 11:05 AM on May 5, 2011


Well, I suspect the point of the whole thing is to say "Look! You're a Libertarian! They're not just whiny tax dodgers with a right wing agenda, they're YOU as well". Which may e true in some senses but not in the sense of how the word is popularly used and what people who self apply it believe in.

Exactly. Plus it makes it look like anyone who isn't a Libertarian must be an Authoritarian.

(It's just like Glenn Beck!)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:10 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Was it just me, or did the Political Compass measure four dimensions at one point? I mean, it still just displayed the two axes graphically, but I think it gave you numbers for two other scales. I think one was an Interventionist/Isolationist axis, and I forget the fourth. Or am I confusing it with something else?

Oh yeah, I think you meant this.
posted by shelleycat at 11:13 AM on May 5, 2011


Economic Left/Right: -9.12
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.03

The problem is that the test assumes that because, say, I'm pro gay rights or the rehabilitation of criminals, I'm a libertarian, when I actually want those things enshrined in law and rigorously enforced.
posted by jack_mo at 11:14 AM on May 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'm guessing all of the Authoritarian/Libertarian questions are the ones like "Do you like puppies and kittens, or do you think puppies and kittens should be sent to a special camp and gassed, JUST LIKE HITLER DID?".
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


What if you were Gay Hitler and wanted gay marriage to be mandatory, what then?
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


BTW, 20k-ers represent!
posted by defenestration at 11:16 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Judging the by the poll's current output, there are literally dozens of us!
posted by defenestration at 11:18 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Economic Left/Right: -6.12
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.00
posted by scottymac at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2011


I could be wrong/naive, but I think in this case libertarian is mostly meant as the opposite of authoritarianism. The guys who made the test are British, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it has a different connotation over there than it does in the US - more like "anarchist" than anything else.

It's certainly possible that they used that label partly to advance an agenda too.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:21 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, doesn't "liberal" in Europe mean closer to the US' "libertarian?"
posted by jtron at 11:23 AM on May 5, 2011


The problem is that the test assumes that because, say, I'm pro gay rights or the rehabilitation of criminals, I'm a libertarian, when I actually want those things enshrined in law and rigorously enforced.

Actually, that would explain why I came out quite libertarian whereas really I just want everyone to follow the rules dammit.
posted by shelleycat at 11:24 AM on May 5, 2011


I guessed I was way to the right of most MeFites on the economic axis, based on the fact that I think large corporations are not totally evil, and even though I come out a little left of center on that axis overall.

I was correct.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:31 AM on May 5, 2011


I'm guessing all of the Authoritarian/Libertarian questions are the ones like "Do you like puppies and kittens, or do you think puppies and kittens should be sent to a special camp and gassed, JUST LIKE HITLER DID?".

Right, that's what I was saying earlier. The tested is basically written to paint libertarian/authoritarian as a good/evil axis.
posted by empath at 11:35 AM on May 5, 2011


Doesn't "liberal" in Europe mean closer to the US' "libertarian?"

No. liberal in Europe usually means socially liberal. It'll happily sit with high taxation and authoritarianism. US libertarianism seems to place the emphasis on an economic "I've got mine, screw you" viewpoint.
posted by seanyboy at 11:35 AM on May 5, 2011


Unsurprisingly, I'm somewhere to the left of the Weathermen. I'm ashamed that I couldn't break -9 on the social coordinate, though. I must report to my nearest Pacific Northwest reeducation camp.
posted by Errant at 11:35 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really don't think anyone is allowed to complain about characterizations of MetaFilter as a predominantly lefty community anymore.
posted by valkyryn at 11:39 AM on May 5, 2011


How authoritarian of you, valkyryn.
posted by defenestration at 11:40 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


METAFILTER: if you were Gay Hitler and wanted gay marriage to be mandatory
posted by philip-random at 11:43 AM on May 5, 2011


Gay Hitler would be a hell of a band name ... if you had the guts.
posted by philip-random at 11:44 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was pleased to see that the respondents didn't skew male as much as I thought they would. Not that this is a representative sample of mefi or anything.
posted by desjardins at 11:45 AM on May 5, 2011

I really don't think anyone is allowed to complain about characterizations of MetaFilter as a predominantly lefty community anymore.
posted by valkyryn at 1:39 PM on May 5
So, then, is there any kind of righty community similar to Metafilter?

(not troll bait - honest question to see where I can get more info from the other perspective)
posted by jillithd at 11:47 AM on May 5, 2011


... it's silly for Libertarian to only be a label on the social scale. Libertarianism is also an economic policy and conflating the two is either unclear or disingenuous,

I think they're counting libertarianism as an economic policy (or laissez-faire capitalism) as economically conservative, or 'right' on their economic scale. So they're not really conflating them.

Scoring left-libertarian just means you're liberal, in the American sense, supporting environmental regulation and gay rights for instance. A libertarian, in your sense of libertarian, would support gay rights (and other individual rights) but also oppose economic regulations. A conservative would oppose both.
posted by nangar at 11:48 AM on May 5, 2011


This of course skews towards MeTa users, and I find it interesting that so many seem to be in my user number cohort.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:49 AM on May 5, 2011


Questions that beg the question like this one are difficult to answer meaningfully. Strongly Agree.
posted by doublehappy at 12:25 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is great, thanks for organizing this. I'm really curious to see the resulting chart. I normally feel I am *very* to the right of the average MeFite, I think I may be proven wrong.
posted by falameufilho at 12:32 PM on May 5, 2011


Economic Left/Right: -6.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.00

Christ! I'm becoming more conservative! Pass me my pistol!
posted by Decani at 12:34 PM on May 5, 2011


Never mind. I just found the Summary Plot link on the spreadsheet. I was proven right. Very right.
posted by falameufilho at 12:34 PM on May 5, 2011


The lack of nuance and inclusion of irrelevant questions altered scores a bit. When my economic score is to the left of my social score, something is terribly, terribly wrong.
posted by Saydur at 12:39 PM on May 5, 2011


TL;DR

Old People: Racist
Teenagers: Capitalist Scum
posted by Seiten Taisei at 12:52 PM on May 5, 2011


Spreadsheet 404
posted by doublehappy at 12:55 PM on May 5, 2011


I consider a society to have a high degree of "economic freedom" when there's high class mobility (i.e., your parents' income is not a good predictor of your income), a market system where there are certain rules enforced to prevent private companies from acting against public interests, and where goods and services are affordable enough that everyone has a decent baseline standard of living. Progressive taxation, social services, and external market regulation are, as far as I can tell, the best way to ensure these goals.

I'm in favor of a high degree of economic freedom, as I've defined it here, but I doubt I'd wind up on the right-hand side of the graph.
posted by kagredon at 12:56 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fascinating. Would love to see with usernames.

And I'm a rightist compared to most Mefis, I think:

Economic Left/Right: -1.12
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.36
posted by bearwife at 1:27 PM on May 5, 2011


Comments that doesn't represent anything shouldn't be considered comments at all....

Ah, we're speaking in kōans now?

I once shot a man in Reno just to watch him live.
posted by quin at 1:39 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like a lot of the economic questions could be condensed to one: "Corporations should be subject to the same explicit laws and implicit social contracts as individuals. Agree or disagree?"

Also, I quite keenly felt the absence of an option for "Dis/Agree, but probably not in the way that you think."
posted by Zozo at 1:42 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I still don't feel like I am giving an educated answer to the question about controlling inflation vs unemployment. I guess I need to study up on economics a bit. I mean, they're both bad things, and I understand their effects on society at large in isolation, but I don't understand the interaction between the two. Does one affect the other in any way?
posted by Joh at 1:44 PM on May 5, 2011


So.. judging by the scatterplot, they managed to take the L-R line and.. make it diagonal.
posted by cj_ at 1:46 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was fun. I think I'm getting more lefty as I get older: -5.12 / -6.05.
posted by deborah at 1:47 PM on May 5, 2011


I'm a guns and butter guy.
posted by clavdivs at 2:11 PM on May 5, 2011


Huh. Apparently I'm Gandhi.
posted by maryr at 2:16 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I'm getting more lefty as I get older:

I know I am. Time and exposure to people different than me showed me that I didn't know everything and I needed to be open to the fact that I could be wrong. It was a revelatory experience for me.

Economic Left/Right: -5.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.10

posted by quin at 2:16 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Economic Left/Right: -8.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.85
posted by Bangaioh at 2:21 PM on May 5, 2011


Time and exposure to people different than me showed me that I didn't know everything and I needed to be open to the fact that I could be wrong.

Not me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:22 PM on May 5, 2011


Economic Left/Right: -5.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.85.

I was surprised to see myself slightly left/lower than the average in this.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:24 PM on May 5, 2011


Suggestion on the spreadsheet: Give the scale a description in columns G & H. I have no idea what the numbers represent, hi vs. low.
posted by jmd82 at 3:04 PM on May 5, 2011


-5.38, -6.36, 20423, 5'6", 41-31-43, 10-01-83, 156, 245, 1320, oh my god my whole life is numbers.
posted by nile_red at 3:05 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Economic Left/Right: -3.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.77
What point was I trying to hit, anyway? As party games go, it's no pin the tail on the vixen.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:16 PM on May 5, 2011


Gay Hitler

Suggestion on the spreadsheet...

I was surprised it didn't ask for my user name. I thought the whole point was to put us on the graph, but I guess it's anonymous?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:27 PM on May 5, 2011


Really, both axes should be labeled "Liberal" to "Conservative," with the distinction between x and y being "Economic" and "Social."

*outraged splutter*
posted by twirlip at 3:37 PM on May 5, 2011


Care to explain that splutter?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:44 PM on May 5, 2011


As I age, I get more lefty about money and more righty about art.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:52 PM on May 5, 2011


twirlip is a centrist-splutertarian.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:59 PM on May 5, 2011


Damn it, Rhaomi, why'd you have to mention NationStates? Now I'm involved in a telegram flamewar with some fool who thinks he can overpower me with military force alone, and I'm debating who I ought to pick as a spiritual advisor.

(Does MetaFilter have a NationStates region? I just registered as The Community of Greendayle. Today they're ranking the world's rudest citizens and I feel we could totally dominate that.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:59 PM on May 5, 2011


Well, the point of having two dimensions is to break out of the liberal-conservative dichotomy by modeling political orientation in slightly more complex terms. Using the same old terminology for both axes sort of defeats the purpose, which is a shame because from where I'm standing (well to the left of "liberal" socially and economically), a big part of the problem with mainstream politics is the reduction of all options to something on the fairly narrow liberal-to-conservative spectrum.

But putting it that way makes it sound like SERIOUS BIZNESS and I was trying to be mildly humorous.
posted by twirlip at 4:04 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, I managed to get my password back. They've updated stuff while I've been gone, and apparently 7% of the population in Acarna die from wandering off into the woods? Oh well.
posted by kagredon at 4:15 PM on May 5, 2011


You know what? Fuck the "political compass" test. It's biased towards libertarians. Nobody wants to think of themselves as "authoritarian" or a socially conservative fuddy duddy. That's why Libertarians are always sending this shit around : it's supposed to make people think they're libertarian. Fuck that shit.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:36 PM on May 5, 2011


In the 2003 version, test came out Economic Left/Right: -4.62, Authoritarian/Libertarian: -1.23.
In 2011, it's Economic left/right: -6.25, Authoritarian/Liberal: -3.79. Huh, apparently I've turned into Ghandi. I blame thank MetaFilter.
posted by dg at 4:39 PM on May 5, 2011


Economic Left/Right: -5.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.69
posted by brundlefly at 5:34 PM on May 5, 2011


Economic Left/Right: -3.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.95

woo I'm Gandhi

I've been called a 'libertarian' in Aus for supporting free speech. it's a bit bizarre
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:34 PM on May 5, 2011


Rhaomi's NationStates thing, I signed up, and now I'm getting these in-game "emails" that remind me of nothing so much as the forwarded, often poorly translated net news in Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep. And they make about as much sense.
posted by orthogonality at 5:50 PM on May 5, 2011


Economic: -1.12
Social: -6.41

Thats much more "conservative" than I would consider myself economically, probably due to some awkward A/B choices in the test.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:20 PM on May 5, 2011


Economic Left/Right: -6.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.56

Some of those questions did seem mind-bendingly ridiculous, however.
posted by elephantday at 6:49 PM on May 5, 2011


I just created a Region in Nation States called "Metafiltyre" for MeFites. (I didn't want to spell it MetaFilter in case the game has an anti-spam policy...)
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:03 PM on May 5, 2011




What exactly do these regions do?
posted by orthogonality at 7:37 PM on May 5, 2011


A couple quotes from the FAQ:

Some of the propositions are intentionally vague. Their purpose is to trigger buzzwords in the mind of the user, measuring feelings and prejudices rather than detailed opinions on policy.

and

You can't be libertarian and left wing

This is almost exclusively an American response, overlooking the undoubtedly libertarian tradition of European anarcho-syndicalism .... the likes of Emma Goldman were identified as libertarians long before the term was adopted by some economic rightwingers.

posted by nangar at 8:42 PM on May 5, 2011


NationStates is still around? I've got a copy of the book it marketed, Jennifer Government, sitting on my shelf. It's a rare book that makes me nostalgic for viral marketing.

I think mine was called 'Ylum', after the planet in Baron and Rude's 'Nexus'. But it looks likeit disappeared.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:54 PM on May 5, 2011


I'm chilling bottom left with the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. Pretty sweet company.
posted by spicynuts at 10:48 PM on May 5, 2011


Oh, I totally didn't see the graphs in the other tabs! That's totally awesome, Salvor Hardin. Thanks for putting this together.

Valkyrn, I don't think anyone ever tries to earnestly argue that MeFi doesn't skew to the left. We're a little more skeptical of the "YOU LEFTY COMMUNIST HIPPIES HAVE BEEN OPPRESSING ME ALL MY LIFE" point, though.
posted by Phire at 11:30 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I apologize for talking like a valley girl in my previous comment. I'm, like, totally brain-dead from studying consolidated financial statements all day.
posted by Phire at 11:39 PM on May 5, 2011


octothorpe: "Abstract art that doesn't represent anything shouldn't be considered art at all.

Huh? Is that really a political indicator?
"

Not really. But it shows how smrt you are.
posted by Splunge at 4:17 AM on May 6, 2011


I'm guessing that what happened is a bunch of people in the white house without too much military experience got a bit ahead of the story.
posted by empath at 6:19 AM on May 6, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "NationStates is still around? I've got a copy of the book it marketed, Jennifer Government, sitting on my shelf. It's a rare book that makes me nostalgic for viral marketing.

I think mine was called 'Ylum', after the planet in Baron and Rude's 'Nexus'. But it looks likeit disappeared.
"

I don't recall the name of mine from long, long ago. But it had a toilet on a blue background as the flag.
posted by Splunge at 6:30 AM on May 6, 2011


Economic Left/Right: -1.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.33

However I lean much more right/(my version of) Libertarian than this. Some of these questions are so extreme that I could see what they are doing, but I answered them honestly and came out far to the left of where I really think I am. And I really don't think it's because I'm a Lefty in Denial. It's just not a great survey for someone with conservative ideals who has to answer with incredibly authoritarian, racist, sexist, anti-gay responses to show that result at the end. You can be conservative and not want women to hide in the kitchen, gay people to hide (childless) in the closet, and criminals to fry.

I'm half tempted to take it again to try to get a Righty result, but I feel bad clicking Strongly Agree (or Disagree depending) on some of these.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 7:15 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Abstract art that doesn't represent anything shouldn't be considered art at all.
1: Huh? Is that really a political indicator?"
2: Not really. But it shows how smrt you are.


Really? 'Cause I decided it was still art if it was pretty.
posted by maryr at 7:52 AM on May 6, 2011


Did we break the graphs on the spreadsheet? I see the blank squares come up where the graphs are supposed to be, but the graphs never load, even after several minutes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:59 AM on May 6, 2011


Hmmmm, does seem kinda broken. I'll see what I can do about it...

Google giveth and Google taketh away...
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:06 AM on May 6, 2011


I'm going to make the spreadsheet private for a moment.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:13 AM on May 6, 2011


Gah. Anyone have any ideas how to put the magic smoke back into the graphs? All charts on that spreadsheet are frozen, newly created or old.

In the meantime, I discovered that you can "publish" a spreadsheet as a website.

Here is a link to the published spreadsheet.

It doesn't fix the chart problem, but it'll probably load faster than the spreadsheet, and it is supposed to update as new data comes in.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:33 AM on May 6, 2011


Is there a survey site that performs factor analysis on the results after the fact rather than assuming a particular set of relevant dimensions? I realize that means that the dimensions would not be meaningful for the first few people that take such a survey, and that the correspondence between questions and dimensions might change as data is gathered.
posted by Jpfed at 9:00 AM on May 6, 2011


Communiss
posted by Mister_A at 9:16 AM on May 6, 2011


I think the Authoritarianism scale is based on Adorno et al's research on the authoritarian personality. That's definitely why the question about abstract art is there, for example.
posted by Acheman at 9:46 AM on May 6, 2011


I'm way too literal-minded to properly answer these things. If you ask me a question that includes an absolute like "never", then I'm probably going to strongly disagree because there's no way that a certain thing is the case for all time.

Also, stuff like "There is now a worrying fusion of information and entertainment." is confusing because while I believe that information and entertainment is fused more than it should be, I doubt that it is a particularly recent phenomenon, and I really couldn't say if one should be worried about it or not. So how do I answer that? I'm not personally worried about it, so I should disagree strongly, but I believe they are often fused in a way which makes for a less informed populace, so I should agree strongly, but I don't believe this is anything new, so I should disagree. Help!

I spend all my time trying to divine the intent of the survey and usually end up closing the damn thing before I make it through.

That reminds a trick IQ test where the test was never ending and it would calculate your "IQ" based on how quickly you stopped answering questions. Someone emailed it to me, I was getting ready to fill it out, saw that it required an email address and decided against it. This should put me at a certified genius level IQ.
posted by ODiV at 9:48 AM on May 6, 2011


Is there a survey site that performs factor analysis on the results after the fact rather than assuming a particular set of relevant dimensions?

I was wandering the same thing. Or just if somebody's done factor analysis on a large batch of political and social issue questions recently in the US. It would be interesting to look at. I would think somebody would have, but I'm not aware of anything.
posted by nangar at 9:48 AM on May 6, 2011


What the heck does Race mean in this context?

The human race.
posted by ODiV at 9:51 AM on May 6, 2011


Looking at the spreadsheet, I'd like to meet the 11 year old female who managed to score a +10, +8.62, has a user number in the 40,000's and is a power user on Jobs and IRL. Precocious little bugger.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 10:03 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The human race.

No, no, The Amazing Race. Which, I mean, QED, the answer is right there in the name.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:11 AM on May 6, 2011


I'm way too literal-minded to properly answer these things. If you ask me a question that includes an absolute like "never", then I'm probably going to strongly disagree because there's no way that a certain thing is the case for all time.

I'm with you, I'm with you. My stock answer to almost every question on these kinds of things is always "That Depends."

I have actually twice had authors end up rewriting IQ tests because they weren't precise enough in their questions, and I was able to prove that a literal interpretation of the question provided for multiple correct answers.

I actually can't help myself. Considering all of the possible interpretations always slows me down on tests.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:42 AM on May 6, 2011


It's not that hard to imagine authoritarian liberals. They're socially liberal on the kinds of questions the survey asks about, but don't support free speech if it means expressing ideas they consider illiberal, and don't support freedom of religion for groups whose beliefs they consider objectionable. I know people like that. And anyone who's read a MeFi political threads has run into people take this position.

I don't think factor analysis would support the authors' assumption that 'libertarianism' (in their sense) and authoritarianism are opposites. Some liberals are genuinely libertarian (in the 'liberal democracy' sense) and others aren't.
posted by nangar at 10:44 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It might have helped if the people who designed the test had changed the options from "agree strongly agree, disagree, strongly disagree" to "agree, partially agree, disagree, partially disagree." It wouldn't affect the scoring at all, but it wold make people more comfortable with the test.
posted by nangar at 10:56 AM on May 6, 2011


Yeah, I wonder if that would have changed things a bit in terms of how I perceived the questions. Wouldn't fix the questions themselves, but it might have been more on target. Because the only time I would hit "Strongly agree" or "Strongly disagree" was when what I meant was "I agree/disagree and also the framing of question doesn't have too strong an aura of bullshit about it". "Agree" and "Disagree" were as likely to be "Agree/disagree and also, seriously, fuck you" as they were to be "Agree/disagree a bit but not a lot."
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:20 AM on May 6, 2011


Hey! The graphs work again!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:28 AM on May 6, 2011


Usually, the best way to answer surveys like this is to read the question and quickly choose the answer that best fits with what pops into your head. Too much reflection on what the question really means often leads to paralysis by analysis.
posted by dg at 2:36 PM on May 6, 2011


the best way to answer surveys like this

Yes, but the best way for whom?
posted by ODiV at 3:07 PM on May 6, 2011


Too much reflection on what the question really means....

Umm... this is Metafilter we're talking about right?
posted by philipy at 5:03 PM on May 6, 2011


[Note, in case anyone is still reading this, the link at the top of the post now goes to the "published" website version of the spreadsheet. Same data, probably just'll load faster, and be less frustrating to look at. The spreadsheet itself is no longer accessible.]
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:29 PM on May 6, 2011


Maybe you could post any conclusions you've drawn from the data?
posted by philipy at 8:49 PM on May 6, 2011


-7.6 economic
-8.5 social

I am still a dirtier, smellier, anarchist hippy than most of you lot it seems. Which is funny because I guess I'm a big ole hypocrite for holding down an office job and not dropping off the grid and joinging a commune etc. Though I dunno, it seems being pro government regulation of business ought not to be anarchist. There needs to be a government in order for that government to do any regulating, right? I is confused.
posted by juv3nal at 2:45 AM on May 7, 2011


"Abstract art that doesn't represent anything shouldn't be considered art at all.

Huh? Is that really a political indicator?"


It's meant to elicit a knee-jerk response about art in general which, sadly, will peg you as lefty or righty in the US, since a lot of our political inclination is tied into a culture war. They chose the most "contentious" form of art for this purpose. I can't imagine many conservatives take a bright view of "abstract art" (or art at all) and even a lot of liberals have a thing or two to say about it. So I understand the motivation, but it feels like a cheap shot, as do a lot of these questions.

Frankly, I felt that a large number of these questions were intended to provoke a knee-jerk response. I'm undecided whether that's a good or bad thing for the purposes of gleaning someone's political leanings. It may well be a good strategy, but it annoyed me.
posted by cj_ at 3:05 AM on May 7, 2011


Wow, a very strong (inverse) correlation between being a lefty and feeling comfortable posting here! Does anyone else think this might be a problem?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:05 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Considering that's how it's been for longer than I've had an account I don't really see a problem.
posted by Mitheral at 7:49 AM on May 7, 2011


Yes, if you like diversity in viewpoints on political issues it's a problem.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:51 AM on May 7, 2011


I'd be uncomfortable too if I were completely wrong about absolutely everything.

I often am.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:08 AM on May 7, 2011


-.19 is not a strong correlation. Political scores, as measured by the test, only account for 3.6% of the variance (-0.192). So most comfort or discomfort is not predicted by what ever it is that the test measures.

The patterns are interesting, though. Comfort is highest at -5.53, -5.99, right about the group mode, and seems to drop off a bit for people who are further left, as well as for people who are further right in one dimension or another.. The standard deviation is larger for people who most uncomfortable posting here (meaning their political scores are more spread out). That's not that surprising to me in a way, I'm pretty uncomfortable commenting in political threads here, but I'm right in the middle of the pack according to my Political Compass scores. I just don't like getting into arguments (though sometimes I do anyway).

Given a fairly small sample size, I don't know if these patterns mean a lot (and I haven't tried to do any actual math). They're just suggestive.

The low correlation between comfort and political scores could be at least partly because the Political Compass test doesn't really reflect people's political views very accurately. But I think fitting on MeFi depends on a lot of things, being American, upper-middle class, male, educated, being either atheist or "mainline" protestant, and having political views that mesh with American Democratic-party liberalism.And like I said, I think personality has a lot to do with comfort as well, and that's unrelated to any of these variables.
posted by nangar at 8:52 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


"fitting on MeFi" - I meant "fitting in." And, of course, a real MeFite wouldn't have made the typo, and would have been more careful about punctuation.
posted by nangar at 9:04 AM on May 7, 2011


Maybe you could post any conclusions you've drawn from the data?
posted


Yeah, I'll eventually put together a summary report of some kind and post it here. I'll probably wait a few more days for stragglers to put in their surveys before closing the form.

In any case, it's unlikely I'll be willing to actually conclude much of anything from the data, since I made no effort to control response bias. But I'll do my best.

Oh, and yeah, I was expecting a stronger correlation between posting comfort and score. Although linear regression probably isn't appropriate here, since one would expect to see comfort levels drop on either side of the mean score.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:08 AM on May 7, 2011


And there was almost certainly some Jokester bias. I mean, sure, there COULD be an 11 year old female MeFite who signed up when she was 7 and is a staunch rightist authoritarian.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:13 AM on May 7, 2011


Who feels she's actually to the left of the rest of MeFi
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:31 AM on May 7, 2011


I'm half tempted to take it again to try to get a Righty result, but I feel bad clicking Strongly Agree (or Disagree depending) on some of these.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage


somethingsomething-styrical ;)

I guess this supports my belief that people favor media environments that echo their own point of view (controversial, I know). Or maybe metafilter is another media-conspiracy to control my thoughtwaves. Wake up sheeple!
posted by polyhedron at 6:52 PM on May 7, 2011


Or, more charitably, people as social animals gravitate to environments in which they feel they will be included at a base level. There are plenty of disagreements in those environments, but participants feel like there is a base platform of understanding from which to disagree.
posted by Errant at 7:47 PM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Heh. Still more lower left than Gandhi. Haven't changed much, if any.
posted by drhydro at 8:07 PM on May 7, 2011


Lovecraft in Brooklyn:
"Economic Left/Right: -3.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.95
… I've been called a 'libertarian' in Aus for supporting free speech. it's a bit bizarre
Who would'a thunk I'm both well left and south of you? ;-)
posted by Pinback at 9:12 PM on May 7, 2011


-9.25 economic, -8.26 social - I'm a dirtier hippie than I thought, although I am mystified that the economic was further out than the social. Not sure what I did there.

What is funny about this (and I see above that it was created by in the UK, where the libertarians perhaps don't have all the weird hang-ups ours do) is that using the word libertarian to refer strictly to the social liberties axis seems to cover up the fact that most (NOT ALL) people who call themselves libertarians (in this country) are either only ever interested in the economic axis at all or they pretend to be interested in both but when it comes time to vote they all of a sudden decide that the only issue important to them is NO MOAR TAXES.
(I know this doesn't apply to everyone. Apologies if I have offended any libertarians. I am very close to some libertarians and am just speaking from personal experience).

Also, shouldn't the graph be sort of flipped around? If I am opposed to what they consider economic liberties but in favor of social ones, it would make more sense for social liberals to have a positive score and be on the right side of the y axis, not the left (granted this messes up the intuitive left-right distinction, but it seem like you'd want the thing that you like to have positive numbers associate with it in both cases though...? Does that make sense?)
posted by naoko at 9:19 PM on May 7, 2011


When I was 13 I was down around Gandhi. When I signed up for MetaFilter I was around -3,-3. Now I got something like +2,+2 (by rewriting the UK-centric "religion" questions in my head). I don't usually post about flat out political issues on MeFi anymore because I'm aware that the main effect would be to get people upset. I'm still a fan of Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, though...
posted by shii at 10:37 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


We put in these answers and they give us a number afterwards and we're all assuming that there's some kind of direct correlation between the two. But really the easiest way to bias the est, much more straight forward than messing around with the questions (although they seem to have done that too), is to just change the number they return. It's entirely possible that everything has been bumped into that bottom left corner because the numbers returned are just more likely to be in that corner regardless of what answers are given. We don't know how they calculate the number, there could be an adjustment factor built in or they could even just pick one at random (although I assume we'd notice that). We'd need to see a much larger, unbiased sample size to determine the overall scatter of results they're giving, and being given the actual calculation would be even better. There's no reason to really believe that this test is at all scientific or meaningful, particularly give the known bias of the group administering it.
posted by shelleycat at 5:00 AM on May 8, 2011


It's entirely possible that everything has been bumped into that bottom left corner because the numbers returned are just more likely to be in that corner regardless of what answers are given

I quickly took the test again answering everything opposite of what I think and got a score in the +9s for both axes, so that type of bias is apparently ruled out.
posted by Bangaioh at 5:23 AM on May 8, 2011


Well sure, the numbers they give aren't entirely random. But they can still be biased towards that quadrant, moving them downward more than is justified by the answers. I would expect it to actually be somewhat complicated since there's going to be some kind of distribution within the answers (probably a bell curve). I'd expect the averages to be in the middle of the graph but they might not be, meaning that outliers still outlie as much as possible while the average person looks more libertarian than they are. The distribution could even be skewed, so those that are to the south of the average fall where they should and those to the north are pushed further south than expected. It could even be some kind of log scale, where the distribution is squashed or stretched in different regions.

Basically we have no way of knowing and just have to assume that they are calculating their numbers honestly and directly from the data we give them, but it's quite possible that this is not true.
posted by shelleycat at 5:40 AM on May 8, 2011


Responding to my own previous comment:

I was wandering the same thing. Or just if somebody's done factor analysis on a large batch of political and social issue questions recently in the US.

Pew did use factor analysis to develop their "Beyond Red vs. Blue" quiz. (I should have RTFA more.)
posted by nangar at 6:46 AM on May 8, 2011


I see some people saying the survey was UK-made.

That seems odd, as people in the UK don't use the term "libertarian" at all. And "liberal" means something rather different in the UK than it does in the US.
posted by philipy at 10:52 AM on May 9, 2011


(I was inspired to make a post about NationStates here. Enjoy!)
posted by Rhaomi at 2:05 PM on May 9, 2011


2.25
-4.1

So relatively speaking, I should change my username to Attila the Hun?
posted by unigolyn at 2:16 AM on May 11, 2011


Shelleycat - I think they're pretty accurate. Over the years, I've migrated ever closer to the center on the economic issues as I've become less rigidly laissez-faire.

My social axis has remained completely static since I haven't changed my opinion on any personal freedom issues.

MeFites are all on the bottom left not because the test is skewed but because this is MeFi :)
posted by unigolyn at 2:21 AM on May 11, 2011


Seanyboy - "No. liberal in Europe usually means socially liberal. It'll happily sit with high taxation and authoritarianism."

As a European liberal, I don't understand what you're saying. How can I be socially liberal but be happy with authoritarianism? I don't really think you can use that word to describe economic policy, unless you're one of those anarcho-capitalists who think all taxation is robbery.

Anyway, "liberal" in Europe means socially and economically permissive, generally in favor of less government intrusion, and generally in favor of less taxation.

The North American meaning of "liberal" corresponds to "social democrat" here.

The US libertarian position of beating everyone to death with a copy of Atlas Shrugged if they dare propose the government fund anything but the police and courts is the extremist equivalent of some nutjob Stalinist on the left. I think the political right is a lot healthier and centrist in Europe than it is in the US where there seems to be a huge gap between the positions of Obama and Clinton (slightly left-leaning centrism by EU standards) and prominent Republicans (Le Pen-like reactionary lunacy by EU standards).
posted by unigolyn at 3:08 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


those anarcho-capitalists who think all taxation is robbery

Libertarians.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:05 AM on May 11, 2011


Libertarians.

Libertarians tend to be minarchists who support taxation to pay for courts and police and armies.

Anarcho-capitalist is a perfectly reasonable description of extreme laissez-faire politics, because semantic arguments aside, it's an ideology that calls for complete abolition of the state. If leftist anarchists want to argue with the rightist anarchists over who's a Truer Scotsman, they're more than welcome to do it amongst themselves.
posted by unigolyn at 12:16 AM on May 17, 2011


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